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Stolen Innocence: My story of growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Stolen Innocence: My story of growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free
Elissa Wall

Литагент HarperCollins

STOLEN INNOCENCE

MY STORY

of growing up IN A POLYGAMOUS SECT, BECOMING A TEENAGE BRIDE, AND BREAKING FREE

ELISSA WELL

WITH LISA PULITZER

This is my story. The events described are based upon my recollections and are true. I have changed the names of some individuals to protect their privacy.

CONTENTS

Prologue

PART ONE

1 A New Mother

2 Growing Up and Keeping Sweet

3 Good Priesthood Children

4 In Light and Truth

5 The Rise of Warren

6 Out of Control

7 Reassignment

8 Preparing for Zion

9 A Revelation Is Made

10 The Celestial Law

11 The Word of the Prophet

12 Man and Wife

13 All Alone

PART TWO

14 Survival Begins

15 The Destruction Is Upon Us

16 Death Comes to Short Creek

17 False Prophet

18 Refuge in Canada

19 Nowhere to Run

20 A Pair of Headlights

21 Promise Not to Tell

22 A Story Like Mine

23 Love at Last

24 Choosing My Future

PART THREE

25 New Beginnings

26 Coming Forward

27 Captured

28 Facing Warren

29 The Trial Begins

30 The End Is in Sight

31 I Am Free

Epilogue

Author’s Note

Acknowledgments

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

PROLOGUE: (#u99cabc3a-6cbf-591e-a0ca-538a7f177103)

A TEENAGE BRIDE (#u99cabc3a-6cbf-591e-a0ca-538a7f177103)

I clutched the delicate silk nightgown and embroidered robe of my bridal gown as I hurried to the bathroom. Though it was just a few feet from my bedroom, the bathroom seemed like a sanctuary, the one place I could be alone. With a turn of the lock, I slid to my knees and leaned my back against the door—for the moment I was safe. Over the past several days, I’d cried myself out of tears, and now I felt strangely numb, unable to cope with what was going on.

When I’d awoken that morning, I was a fourteen-year-old girl hoping for the miracle of divine intervention; my prayers, however, had gone unanswered. With no other choice, I’d submitted to the will of our prophet and had married my nineteen-year-old first cousin. As a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), I’d been raised to believe that marriages were arranged through a revelation from God, and that these revelations were delivered through our prophet, who was the Lord’s mouthpiece on earth. As a faithful follower, I’d embraced this principle and believed in it wholeheartedly, never imagining that at fourteen, a revelation would be made about me.

Ever since that revelation, I’d spent every last ounce of energy begging the prophet and his counsels to grant me more time or select a different man for me to marry. Not only was my new husband my first cousin, we had never gotten along, and I was having trouble believing that God would want me to marry someone I loathed. But my repeated pleas and desperate attempts to stop the marriage had failed, and that morning, I’d been driven across the Utah border to a motel in Nevada, where I was sealed for marriage in a secret wedding ceremony performed by our prophet’s son, Warren Jeffs.

Now, with the lock on the bathroom door securely fastened, I felt the full weight of the day for the first time. As I lay sprawled out on the cold tiles of the floor, I was uncertain I would be able to muster the courage to join my new husband in the bedroom. I ran my fingers along the expertly sewn long nightgown and pink satin robe that my mother had given me in honor of my wedding. So much tedious work had gone into the delicately embroidered flowers scattered across the robe’s lapel. I knew I was supposed to feel exalted. Marriage was meant to be the highest honor an FLDS girl could receive, and I was devastated to admit to myself that I didn’t feel that way.

I pictured my husband waiting for his bride, and the thought of sharing a bed with him terrified me. I had no idea what happened between a man and his wife in bed, and I didn’t want to find out. I’d never been allowed to touch a boy, even to hold hands. Girls of the FLDS were taught to view boys as poisonous snakes until their wedding, at which point girls were expected to morph instantly into women and obey the direction of their new husbands. It didn’t matter if you were fourteen or twenty-two.

Nausea overtook me, and I raced to the sink, digging my palms into its porcelain edge and trying not to vomit. Looking up, I caught sight of my red-rimmed eyes in the mirror. I had no idea how long I’d been in there, but I knew I had to leave the comfort of the bathroom. I knew these stolen minutes behind the locked door were my last solitude. From that time on, I would be the property of my husband, and would have to obey him completely. All I wanted to do is run to Mom’s room right next door and curl up beside her, but it couldn’t be done. I would always be her daughter, but I was no longer her little girl.

This is what the prophet has told me to do. I have no choice but todo it.

I peeled off my dress slowly, still wearing my long church undergarments, panties, bra, and tights. After some debate, I resolved to leave everything on underneath my nightgown. Tying the belt of my robe over my many layers made me feel protected, like I was wearing a suit of armor.

My heart was heavy as I reached reluctantly toward the knob and turned it. I ached for Mom but knew that even if she were standing here right now, her hug would not be enough to calm my nerves. Breathing deeply, I fought back the tears building up behind my blue eyes.
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